Across the Barrier, fantasy, On-going Stories, Short Story

Across the Barrier Chapter Five

I’m all tied up — flat on a medical bed, fit for an asylum.

Everything is in black and grey. Void of any vibrant colours.

The floor is made up of black dust and we were inside a half sunken old ruin.

No other soul in sight.

At arrival here in the void, the old man had dragged me onto a contraption that instantly came alive, straps wrapping around my torso, arms and legs.

‘Fascinating, does it not hurt?’

I shake my head, stunned.

He takes out an odd looking thread needle and pokes me. I feel nothing. He tries to slice me with an ancient dagger and again, I feel nothing.

Everything he takes out of his many pockets slid over my skin like it was made of glass.

He couldn’t draw blood if he wanted to and if I had a drop of blood in me.

He said I was a Golem? I barely knew what a Golem was. In the video games, I played those were the giant zombies. I’m pretty sure I still looked like a boy or else Kera would have said something.

Looking down at my body, it showed me everything was normal, my familiar long skinny legs and bony chest, but somehow I wasn’t ordinary anymore.

I remember being human; I’m pretty sure I was human before I died. I’ve had all kinds of vaccinations to protect me since I was a child. No help if you ask me, considering I died, but the needles definitely pierced my skin then.

‘What are you going to do with me?’ the straps holding me down moved along with me. The more I struggled, the tighter they became.

‘ A curious question, yes, but I’m more interested in what you are. Do you think if I drop a boulder ten times your size on you, would you break?’

I begin struggling, but the straps tighten, becoming like a second skin.

‘Don’t worry, I won’t do it, Benny boy, you’re special now, and I would say indestructible.’ He loosens the straps and sets me free and begins walking, leaving his strange contraption behind and into the dark.

As he walks, the only source of light followed; slowly ebbing away from me, leaving me in the shadows.

‘You seem to be made up of a resilient but malleable essence. Once molded into a form, it becomes unbreakable. I’ve never seen it before. I can sense old magic, quite ancient mind you. Primordial. Wherever you came from, it’s not from any world I’ve been to, but maybe it is where I will find the solution to my problem.’ the old man mumbling with himself.

‘Who are you?’

‘Who am I. I have many names, but I was once Baldemar Wayland, a blacksmith.’

We walk and walk as he tells his tale. He is lost in its telling and me in listening.

‘I had a beautiful wife and daughter, but everything changed when a divinity came into our lives, Gods and their magic.’ he grumbled.

Not too far away I could see a short three-story building with its own source of light. It looked so lonely and abandoned in this place.

‘The God had the whole of creation dripping from his hands. He created creatures at whim, made my daughter a creature of her imagination! Something I could not give her or create in my smithy.’

As we draw closer, in front of a grey three-floor house, there was a female automaton that closely resembled a young woman but made out of gold plated metal. She had dark hair loosely tied in a bun, wearing a long black dress with an apron. She was plucking grey roses from a grey garden. She looked angelic, like a young maid painted in the old painting.

‘Hello, Ava, I see you’ve grown bored with your machines again.’ Baldemar remarks before pecking her on the cheek and entering the house.

‘Not bored, I’m simply seeking inspiration. If you took me with you in your adventures, I could be less inclined to become uninterested.’ Ava smiles at me and beckons me to enter the house.

‘I am Ava, Baldemar’s only companion; you would think he’d be more accommodating. So who may you be? An enemy or a guest?’

I didn’t know what to say. Firstly, Ava was an amazing creation. Whoever had created her made her look and move like a human. Her thoughts and way of speaking, it was like talking to a real live human.

Ava sighs, ‘He looks a little dimwitted to me, Baldy.’ She pokes me in the middle of my forehead. I feel nothing.

‘I’m Ben. Whoever created you must be bloody brilliant.’ I follow her through a metal swing door.

Inside was a cozy living room next to a dining room by an open kitchen that looked half like a witches laboratory.

Ava moves close and scans me from top to bottom and smirks, it blows my mind. It had all the right wrinkles, and dimples and her eyes had crinkles, eyeballs to looks so lifelike.

‘Baldy made me, although he treats me like his daughter. I get punishments, studies, house rules, and chores while at the same time, he tells me stories of places he’s been. He likes to talk a lot.’

‘Ava, can you please go upstairs and finish the project we’ve been working on. I’m sure you’ve dallied enough. I’ll need it on my next trip. I’ve found the god child.’

‘Can’t I do it later; I want to talk to our guest. I’ve never met anyone my age before.’

Baldemar’s face darkens; at the sight of it, Ava frowns and leaves without a word. She heads to the far end of the living room and turns to a staircase on the right, heading up she stomps like a child. I’m not sure if she was doing it purposely or she was just heavy. She is partially made up of intricate machinery.

‘She is my daughter you know. My real daughter. She is older than the discovery of the moon. Older than the oldest ruin in any world, she lived hundreds of years ago, during a time when Gods roamed the earth and before they hid in their realm afraid of us.’

Baldemar hands me a cup filled with a thick fluid that smelled foul.

‘Drink it, it will be your only source of sustenance here,’ I take the cup and sip, it tastes like a blend of bitter gourd, fish oil and something harshly sweet. I try not to hurl.

‘I placed her soul in that body myself. Her body I made by hand, piece by piece. I killed the God and stole his magic to do so. Metal tainted with godly magic. It was only fair, why couldn’t we have powers of our own? Why could I not keep my child alive forever?’

‘Is that what this place is? Your creation?’ The concoction was disgusting. I could feel it oozing down my oesophagus.

Baldemar snorts, ‘No, I was exiled here, given the title of God Killer.

However, I was not the only one who killed a God. Other mortals realized the divinity could be killed, so they hunted. Soon the Gods fought, ran and barred the other worlds from their realm.’ He pours himself a cup of the horrid mixture gulping it down like water.

‘But it was too late, with all the dead gods, magic surged through all the worlds and mortals and I later discovered that the killer like I, could not absorb all the magic; I could not become a God.’ Baldemar grew pensive, lost in thought.

I wasn’t sure to be afraid of this man or want to become his friend. I could understand his situation. In a way, it isn’t so different from the rich kids in school who got away with anything just because they had powerful connections or their parents were working in high places.

However, I am stuck in this godforsaken place, literally, and stuck with a killer who killed a God to boot. How could I possibly get out of here and find Luna?

‘Did you know, the moment a God dies, their essence disperses. It doesn’t cease to exist but moves into the particles around us. The air, the sand, in the tiny particles that make us what we are. Finding a new and capable host. No mortal is capable of holding so much magic but they can have a part of it if they are worthy.’

‘Then why do you stay here? It’s dark, gloomy, and colorless when you have so much power.’ I pass him back the cup empty.

‘I have control here. No one can enter the void, and no one can leave it but me, so don’t bother to try.’

I wouldn’t know what to do first even if I tried.

There was something off about this place.

A deadness to it.

Or was I feeling my lifelessness?

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Across the Barrier, fantasy, On-going Stories, Short Story

Across the Barrier Chapter Four

She didn’t want to see me.

It’s been an hour or two or maybe forever, or it felt that way.

Since she knocked on the door just as we were about to eat breakfast, it felt ages.

Why didn’t she want to see me?

Metior must be being protective.

‘Relax lover boy, everything happens for a reason.’ Kera pats me on the shoulder as she passes by, pity written all over her face. What was the pity for? Did Luna meet someone else? How long have I been dead?

I rise off my seat and head over to the patio where they were keeping her away from me. I couldn’t even see her through the curtains. What was all the secrecy about? Was it not the plan to unite us a while ago?

Kera rushes from the kitchen catching sight of me heading out.

‘It’s not a good time, be patient.’ She holds me back although I push against her. She is stronger than she looks.

‘Why?’ I begged in a whisper, feeling her palm dig deeper into my shoulder as I press forward.

‘Your death’s made it complicated is all I can say.’ She pushes me back to the dining room gently.

I deflate, unable to fight.

Yes, I had died, and now I live. How I am here has been slithering around in my mind but ignoring it was easier when all the crazy things unfolded. Now that Kera has smacked it to my face, I fall onto a seat disorientated.

‘This must be all maddening to you; I will never forget my first time. Getting dropped into the middle of a jungle, getting chased by naked people and meeting Misty for the first time as a bat or was it a monkey? He seems like a monkey.’

I try to smile, but I couldn’t bother anymore to seem stable.

Kera passes me a new cup of coffee, ‘It will be ok. Things happen to us so we can grow.’

‘Do you have a book on positive things to say memorised?’

Kera shrugs, ‘Makes me feel like I’m helping.’

I sip the coffee, burning my tongue but it hurts less than the fear gnawing in my heart. Am I a zombie? Is that why it was complicated? I couldn’t be with her because I was rotting from the inside out. I feel myself begin to panic.

‘Your mind barrier is failing, I can hear you freaking out. You are not dead. Stop thinking whatever you are thinking. I don’t need to read your mind to know you’re overthinking everything.’

‘But-‘ I begin, but she interrupts, high on coffee.

‘You have a heavy frown on your face. Lines so deep Darya could swim in it, even Kai.’

The thought of that was funny, but I couldn’t picture it in my mind without imagining my face rotting and falling apart.

Something was wrong, and I don’t know how to fix it.

I try and force a smile so Kera can leave and do whatever she needed. She was itching to go, drinking her coffee in gulps.

‘Smile is fake but I’ll take it, I need to remind the others we have an evil villain to defeat.’ Kera finishes whatever is left of her coffee and drops it by the kitchen and swiftly walks back out to the patio to the others.

There was an evil villain to defeat? I could suddenly feel weariness spread through my body like a wave. There was so much to take in.

I place my cup on the table which is still filled with the breakfast made earlier. All of it was untouched and cold by now. As I reach for a piece of sausage to eat some of my anger away, the world seems to suddenly go in slow motion.

The windows by the dining table bursts into pieces of glass. Shards heading towards me like arrows. The wall tumbles down in massive blocks. An old wrinkly man floats in surrounded with a black halo.

It was black as night, you could see nothing through it, pure darkness.

I cross my arm over my face to block the glass. I fall back on my seat onto the floor with a slam. A block of the wall knocks me hard on the head. Dust clouds the air, entering my eyes, turning everything hazy.

‘Ben!’ someone is shouting my name but I can’t see anything the world has gone dark.

The same voice screams my name, and I realise it is Luna.

‘Luna! I can’t see anything. Go, get away, save yourself! I love-’, something knocks me down hard, and I’m suddenly in the air upside down.

In between a blink and within and below a second, the world turns silent. No rumbling blocks of cement, no screaming and shouting, just silence; pure emptiness. It sucks you in. It turns you into a tiny ball of existence so minuscule an ant could feel like a mountain.

I blink a few times, hoping to remove the dust out of my eyes. I could feel tears streaming down my face, washing away some dust and cleaning my eyes. Though it made no difference, if I opened or closed my eyes, I could not see. I was in darkness.

With a pop, the old man appears in front of me. In this place, he was black and grey, so was the world around us. There was no vibrant colour in sight.

‘Welcome to the in-between! This is the crack between worlds where nobody goes or wants to go. This is a place, a home, a shelter for outcasts like you and me.’

Before I could say a word, the old man moves in close, his face within and below an inch from my face.

He sneers, ‘you’re mine now little Ben. My own little Golem boy.’

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fantasy, On-going Stories, Short Story, World Weavers

The Rainbow Tree

Long ago there was a village in the deepest heart of a forest. Villagers lived in wooden homes shaped like cubes rising from the earth to the inner sanctum of the treetops. They painted their houses in bright oranges and pinks, or any bright colour they could create. They did not camouflage themselves with the forest but stood out like a splash of rainbow paint against a sea of green.

There was one little boy that did not like his village. He would slip away into the forest whenever he could.

He liked to visit a particular group of trees, untouched by paint, ordinary and simple. Browns and greens a comfort from the wildness of his community.

One day while sitting at the roots of a large tree the boy heard noises deeper in the forest. It sounded like a massive fire. He looked up at the sky but saw no smoke but the same vibrant red and blue hue of the clouds.

The boy worried it may spread to his village, followed the sound and found himself soon in a clearing.

An old man covered in multiple strips of cloth in different colours was dancing and chanting.

In his hand, he held a bright green crystal stone held above his head.  Lightening cracked out of it, and wherever the lightning hit, bursts of colours began to spread.

The boy panicked, “Stop stop stop! You are destroying the trees!” the boy yelled.

The old man stopped and looked at the boy with his beady eyes.

“Destroying? What do you mean you silly boy?” he asked.

Anger flared in the boy. He could feel it boiling to the tips of his ears. His fist clenched he marched up to the old man who was no taller than him.

“I like the trees to remain brown and green. If you like colours go visit my village!” He growled.

The old man laughed and gave the boy his magic stone. “Here, why don’t you try, you might like it.”

The little boy was surprised, he took the stone but was unsure what to do with it; he looked up into the sky and saw the same clouds passing by.

“I wish there were no colours in the sky.” He murmured.

The old man quickly snatched the stone from the boy’s hands, but it was too late.

The clouds in the sky grew white and dull, the colours trickling down into the corners of the world, disappearing like paint down a river.

“Now the sky will be forever white and dull.” The old man stated sadly.

The boy fell to the ground and cried, “Please don’t hurt my family. I didn’t know that was going to happen!” He sobbed, but the old man shook his head.

“I can return the colours in the sky but they can only appear in the morning, and just before night, once something is removed with colour and life, it takes more than a wish to fix it again. Great magic comes with a mighty price and yours was a big demand.”

The boy lost in his tears did not see the old man leave, when he realized how quiet it became he looked around and found no old man but the green stone.

The boy suddenly grew excited and mischievous, jumping up and down and shouting into the woods that he had the stone. Maybe he could make a few small changes at his village he thought.

He ran home and hid in his parent’s house and looked out the window. The streets of his village were below, and it ran with rivers of colourful sand. In the trees, the homes were decorated with bright flowers in every shade.

At the sight of it all he groaned, but he had a way to fix it.

“I wish for the paint on the houses to disappear.” He wished.

In an instant, every house in the village suddenly became grey. Shouts rang from every tree and the boy laughed crouching under the window.

His mother appears worried that something had happened to him, but he shook his head.

“I am ok. The colours are gone. I like it, don’t you mother?” He asked.

The mother shook her head, “My boy, you must understand that the colours are more than just colours. It is the sign of life that flows through our village.”

However, the boy was not listening and was scrutinizing the stone he held ignoring her. He was lost in his head full of naughty ideas.

The mother sighed, “Come, my boy, you will help repaint our house, perhaps with some work you will see.”

The boy helped repaint, but as soon as he got back by the window, he giggled and made a similar wish to remove the colours. Everyone including his parents repainted their homes again.

Stubborn and mischievous, the boy made his final wish.

“I wish for all the colours in the village to disappear!” and in an instant, a strong wind gushed through the village blowing all the colours away turning into to dust. People screamed, and children began to cry.

The boy did not understand why anyone would scream; they would paint it all over again anyway. He looked out the window and noticed splotches of darkness scattered all over the village.

In the trees, on the ground, shadows began to form, blacker than black. They came up from under the trees and in the corners of homes. They were swirling up into elongated figures, but instead of hands and feet, they had claws. They had no faces but a swirling vortex of grey. They were sucking the colours from a villagers skin. His people began running for their lives into the forest. Screams tortured the air, and the sky darkened as a rumbling sound echoed through the village.

The boy quickly sunk back into his house under his window and held the stone.

“I wish for the colours to come back!” He screamed repeatedly but the boy knew it would not work.

He quickly ran out of his house heading for the forest calling for the old man.

It was as he was running that he could feel the shadow creatures coming after him in the forest. They must have heard him or finished all his people.

He had nowhere to go; he didn’t know where he was running. He could feel his lungs burning in his chest, but it felt like it was his heart was going to explode.

The creatures ravaged the trees as they moved towards the boy, killing people or anything in their way and sucking out all colours with greed.

The little boy soon lost the monsters, but he had gone too far into the forest.

He then heard a familiar crackling sound, and soon enough he found the old man.

The little boy rushed to the old man and pulled at his bright garments. He threw the green stone at the old man’s feet. He had never been so happy to see colours as he did at that moment.

He begged the old man to help him, recounting what happened.

The old man’s face reddened, brighter than the red in his robes.

“You silly blinded fool, you had the stone of wishes!”

The boy suddenly felt foolish. He could save his people!

“So I can wish away those creatures chasing me away?” he asked the old man. “Or turn back time?” he continued as he took the stone out of his pockets.

The old man looked into the distance and shook his head. He sighed.

“It is too late. The creatures you have seen now have the Akamari from your people and the forest. When they consume such energies, they become of this world.”

The boy felt his heart turn cold with dread.

The boy screamed in a fury, “You shouldn’t have given me the stone, now you have killed my people!”

The old man stood up suddenly and began to walk away.

“Where are you going?! You must help me!” the boy shouted.

The old man turned and squinted at the boy. There was a wicked glint in his eyes.

“You should have been careful with the magic of the stone. It has killed kingdoms across Elodare.” He growled, “but since I am kind, I ask you this, would you do anything, sacrifice anything for your people’s safety?” The old man asked.

“Like what?” The boy asked suspiciously.

“It can be anything boy, your soul, your body, anything! Would you be able to let it go to save your people?” the old man asked again.

He walked back to the boy, moving so close they were nose to nose. The boy could smell the old man’s foul breath.

“Well?” the old man whispered treacherously.

The boy knew what he had to do, but he didn’t want to do it. It wasn’t his fault. Now that he truly looked at the old man, he seemed to feel like he was part of the darkness he had seen.

The boy sighed; all he had wanted was some peace from the colours.

“You made me do this you disgusting, evil old man. Why?” he sobbed dejectedly.

The old man shrugged and walked away, playing with the stone in his hand.

He turned and leered at the boy with his mad eyes glinting.

“Time will tell boy, so? I need your answer.” He says.

The boy sighs in defeat, knowing what he had to do, “I would do anything.” He answered, and it was true he could feel it in his heart. He loved his mother, his father and the people of his village. It was his home.

It was also the right thing to do. He had stolen the colours and played with magic that was surely forbidden. The evil shadow creatures had to be stopped. If he had to lose a limb, a nose or an ear he would do it.

The old man smiled, “Not so silly a boy then eh?”

The old man suddenly opened an invisible door.

The boy looked panicked, “You said you would help my people, where are you going?”

The old man shrugged, “It is done. Go home boy.”

“How do I know you’re not just going to leave me here to the monsters?”

The old man shrugged, “You don’t.” Then the old man was gone.

The boy listened and heard no sound, not a single scream. His people could all be dead, but he had hope. He ran to his people.

He passed by his group of favourite trees and noticed they had turned entirely grey. The shadow creatures had stolen their life.

As he reached his village, everything seemed normal. The colourful houses were back, the vibrant array of sand on the streets and his people with paint all over their faces.

It was like nothing had happened. Only his favourite group of trees remained as a reminder of his horrid deeds.

He went home and spent time with his family, for the first time happy to see colours everywhere, even in his food.

He slept that night with a smile on his face and planned to visit his trees and for the first time, to paint them with some colours.

The next morning, the boy woke up to the everyday sounds of the other children playing downstairs on the streets. He could hear the voice of his mother singing in the kitchen and his father building something outside by the tree bridges.

He opened his eyes and screamed his lungs out in panic. All he could see was darkness and a mirage of colours shifting whichever way he turned.

He could no longer see.

He felt around him and sensed everything was there. He was not dreaming.

It then dawned on him; the deal he made with the old man. The old man had taken his eyes.

The boy cried curled up in his bed. While in the forest, his group of favourite trees was noticeably different.

They had every colour the boy had ever seen snaking across its bark and branches in thin like threads. The leaves of the trees were in different colours too. The oddest of all was at the middle each tree’s bark; there was a black swirl that looked like an eye.

Photo by Lily Adamczyk’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

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